The “Widow” is Jean Taylor, wife of accused monster, Glen Taylor. Regardless of what Jean hears, sees and verifies firsthand, she stands by her husband throughout an ongoing police investigation. Glen is a manipulative, controlling and despicable individual, yet for some very subtle reasons sprinkled within the book’s chapters, Jean is willing to lie and defend him regardless of the mounting evidence.
Once again, I was drawn to a book by claims of it being for fans of Gone Girl and Girl On the Train. I can honestly say that The Widow is nothing at all like either of these bestsellers. However, I can also say The Widow is a well-written and compelling read.
Author Fiona Barton’s greatest asset is her ability to detail the media’s relentless pursuit of the next great story and the devious methods they employ to do it. Ms. Barton’s extensive background in journalism certainly came in handy when writing her novel.
I’d definitely classify this book as a crime/thriller, mystery/suspense novel. Readers are never really sure who “did it” until near the end and I did find that to be suspenseful. The beginning of the story grabbed me and compelled me to read on. In fact, I read it in one day. The biggest problems I had with The Widow were the numerous POVs and flip-flopping of tense. There were times where I found that these changes seriously interrupted the flow of the story. It would have flowed so much better if the author had chosen a POV and tense and stuck with them throughout. Past tense, third person omniscient would have worked well and I wondered why she hadn’t chosen them.
As far as whether or not the author has created characters that readers will connect with or even care about, I can honestly say I didn’t care much for any of them. Other than detective Bob Sparkes, who’s clearly driven to bring the responsible party to justice, the characters are dysfunctional and unlikable. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the story is still well-written, despite the cast of oddball characters.
I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a unique and suspenseful read from a new author. But if you’re looking for another Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins you’re not going to find either of them here. The sooner publishers stop making these comparisons, the better it will be for both readers and new authors.
4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.